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D.W. Griffith

“Shall not his faults be forgiven?”

The first few title cards of D.W Griffith’s 1914 film Home Sweet Home set forth the work’s subject matter and aim.[1] The film’s story, we are told, is “suggested by the life of John Howard Payne and his immortal song, ‘Home, Sweet Home.'” Here a songwriter and his song get equal billing as the inspiration for the unfolding drama.  In mentioning the songwriter first, the text presumes some audience familiarity with the name and perhaps the life of John Howard Payne. A child actor on the American stage in the early years of the nineteenth century, Payne was considered a Read more